Canadian Bands You Should Know: The Dudes

It’s hard to put your finger on what makes The Dudes so awesome. Whether you’re sitting on the patio with friends or looking for a song to belt out in the shower, The Dudes are the band you’re looking for. Between the driving drums, the sweet-sounding yet gritty bluesy vocals and the melodic guitar licks thrown in with a little flair, The Dudes have captured the attention of the Calgary music scene and gained national recognition.
Their sound is rooted in straight-up rock’n’roll and their attitudes anchored in humility and fun. The Dudes have been rocking their hometown Calgary and beyond for over a decade and since their inception in the late 90’s, they have maintained their ability to produce… well, good music – really good music. Since their 2006 release of Brain Heart Guitar, The Dudes haven’t let their fame get in the way of them having fun. They’re hardly the unreachable band that fans pummel each other to get autographs from. This hard-working group of guys has never forgotten the people who allow them to do what they love – and that’s make music.
Although they’ve been rocking since the late 90’s, the tune that catapulted this local band into fame was “Do The Right Thing” from their 2006 album Brain Heart Guitar. It’s one of those songs that makes your feet tap whether you want it to or not. You can relate to the song and you don’t really know why. You find yourself singing along even though you don’t know all the words. It’s hard to listen to any of The Dude’s songs without moving or playing air drums on your steering wheel while you’re driving. But it’s not until you see a live show or see the guys in an interview that you really let yourself become a fan. Personable and laid back, Danny Vacon heads the band providing the soulful vocals fans have grown to know and love. With a sense of humour that just makes you want to hang out with the guy, Vacon helps bring real personality to the music.

Unlike many other Canadian bands, the Dudes didn’t hail from Toronto or relocate in search of fame and fortune. Instead they stayed put in Calgary as their fan base grew across the country (touring across North America and Europe helped their fan base swell too). They’ve had their fair share of fame, however. Their song “Dropkick Queen of the Weekend” was featured in a Rogers Wireless campaign a few years back and they graciously took home a Bucky Award for Best Offstage Performance for their “Dudeveristy” video on CBC Radio 3 (a prime showcase of the humour and personality they bring to their performances on and offstage).

However it’s the fans that hold a special place in their hearts for The Dudes, and probably The Dudes who hold a special place in their hearts for their fans. Members Bob Quaschnick, Scott Ross, Brock Geiger, and Danny Vacon have all helped nurse The Dudes into the feelgood band of Canada and one of the greatest bands – if not THE greatest band – in Calgary.
Danny has his hand in many musical ventures, including Dojo Workhorse. Perhaps it’s the raw emotion and Danny’s telltale vocals that are drawing, but Dojo Workhorse sure knows how to make the heart ache. The captivation of “Foolish Love” and the heartbreak of “One Goodbye” (which could be a lullaby if it wasn’t so stirring) are just some of the reasons to listen to this band. Dojo Workhorse is such a stark contrast to The Dudes yet it’s easy to understand how one grew out of the other. As a testament to Danny’s versatility on the music spectrum, High Kicks is yet another band he heads and is it ever different than Dojo Workhorse. Gritty and loud with elements of punk rock and noisy distortion that was clearly designed to fuse aggression and rock’n’roll, High Kicks are sweaty, loud, and they know what they’re doing.
It’s no wonder that Danny Vacon and The Dudes have paved the way for great local music. They’re just so damn good at it.

– Kaitlan Bohan

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